ISLAMABAD: A recent seminar delved into the pivotal role of emerging technologies in shaping comprehensive national security strategies, underscoring the importance of collaboration and a human-centric approach.
The Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies (CASS), Islamabad, successfully concluded a seminar focused on the ‘Role of New & Emerging Technologies in Comprehensive National Security.’ The event gathered renowned experts and policymakers to examine the profound impact of technological advancements on national security strategies, according to a news release.
In his keynote address, Lieutenant General (R) Khalid A. Kidwai, Advisor National Command Authority & Former Director General, Strategic Plans Division, emphasized the intricate connection between evolving technologies and comprehensive national security. He stressed the need to evaluate the reliability, shelf life, and strategic implications of new technologies, as they could disrupt tactical and strategic balances. General Kidwai highlighted that political stability, a robust economy, and social cohesion were pivotal for holistic security.
Professor Dr. Rabia Akhtar, Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy and Policy Research at the University of Lahore, shed light on the influence of new technologies on traditional security paradigms. She advocated for synergy and collaboration among state institutions, academia, and industry experts. Dr. Akhtar underscored the significance of investing in emerging technologies such as AI-powered weaponry, bioengineering, and cyber warfare to maintain a competitive edge in national security. She also stressed the need for regulatory frameworks and substantial research investment to address privacy concerns and civil liberties.
Aamna Rafiq, Research Associate at the Arms Control and Disarmament Centre, Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, delved into the potential of emerging technologies in enhancing non-traditional security and national development. She discussed how innovative technologies directly contributed to achieving the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Rafiq highlighted the role of emerging technologies in poverty reduction, agriculture practices, healthcare, education, and gender equality. She underscored the importance of bridging the gender gap in technology access.
Former Advisor at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Syed Arif Ahmad, focused on harnessing technological advancements judiciously to bolster comprehensive security. He voiced concerns about the rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence and the potential challenges in managing its applications. Dr. Ahmad stressed adapting AI technologies to prepare for future conflicts and avoiding isolationist policies. He also noted the implications of hypersonic weapons and urged Pakistan to invest in supercomputers for testing new technologies.
Air Commodore Khalid Banuri (Retd), Former Director General Arms Control & Disarmament Affairs Branch, Strategic Plans Division, and the seminar’s discussant, highlighted the importance of social cohesion, acknowledging the complexities of achieving it. He recognized that social cohesion demanded coexisting with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. Regarding big data, Banuri identified key aspects: access, analysis, and application, and highlighted existing challenges in these areas for Pakistan. He emphasized the potential of algorithms and AI in facilitating efficient decision-making.
Air Marshal M. Ashfaque Arain (Retd), Advisor Chief of the Air Staff on CASS Affairs & Director Emerging Technologies, Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies, Islamabad, highlighted the transformation of national security during the seminar. He shared that the concept of national security had evolved from focusing solely on military security against external threats to encompassing ‘Comprehensive National Security.’ This inclusive approach involved safeguarding not only the state’s security but also non-traditional dimensions of human security.
Concluding the event, Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan (Retd), President of the Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies, Islamabad, underscored how AI had significantly expedited decision-making processes, leaving no room for hesitation. He acknowledged the escalating advancements in AI and cyber capabilities that were poised to shape future warfare. Khan stressed the necessity of political stability for progress, asserting that genuine security required prioritizing the well-being of the people—a perspective rooted in a human-centric approach to security.
The well-attended seminar culminated with a call for increased collaboration, research investment, the establishment of national and international regulatory frameworks, and the seamless integration of emerging technologies into Pakistan’s comprehensive national security strategies.